Use these tips to protect yourself when shopping online this holiday season.
While many consumers buy products online, not all of them take the time to print out receipts or track internet purchases to identify fraud. While doing so will not prevent incidences of identity theft or fraudulent purchases, keeping track of all of your family’s internet purchases can make it easier to identify instances of fraud.
What’s not to like about shopping online? Consumers can avoid long lines at the checkout, pushing throngs of people on Black Friday and during special sales, and all the noise that goes along with the traditional shopping experience.
Internet shopping is easy and enjoyable. Consumers can avoid all the negativity that surrounds overcrowded stores and the needless trekking from one store to the next in search of the perfect pair of jeans. Internet shopping provides instant gratification, anonymity, and successful acquisition of the item in question.
One of the easiest strategies consumers can take is to track their internet purchases weekly. Keeping a handy list of the online sites that you have made purchases from allows you to readily identify suspicious transactions. While it may be easy enough to remember what you have purchased online, can you remember each purchase that a family member has made?
Since a growing number of fraudulent purchases are perpetrated online, it is essential to keep track of your purchases as a handy reference. Most credit card companies contact their cardholders once they suspect fraudulent activity on the account. Typically, they question the cardholder as to whether or not she recognizes specific purchases. If the consumer has a list of the purchases with the store name and the purchase amount, she can easily identify legitimate transactions.
If a consumer has more than one credit card, he can dedicate one of these cards for use with internet purchases. This way, he knows that any online purchase made through one of his other credit cards is most likely a case of attempted fraud. This strategy can also be used to help identify other fraudulent transactions. For example, if a large purchase at a gas station is charged to your “internet only” credit card, then you can identify it more quickly as a fraudulent transaction.
In addition to the above strategies, consumers should obtain a copy of their credit report several times a year in order to keep an eye on their credit activity. Additionally, a number of companies offer to watch your credit accounts for signs of suspicious activity for a fee.